“Dr. Jack Monroe,” the cop said. “It’s your turn.”
Jack Monroe, a scrawny, young psychoanalyst, was waiting in front of a set of big, white doors. Before Jack could finish his studies, he was required to visit an asylum and study the patients there.
However, this particular facility wasn’t your typical madhouse. It was ‘The Blur Eyes’. ‘The Blur Eyes’ was where patients who’ve escaped other facilities come to stay.
“Come in, sir.” the cop insisted.
Jack shook his head nervously. The entirety of the building made him uneasy; nauseous, even. Sadly, Jack had no choice. If he were to pass, he’d have to visit the place.
“C’mon, Jack,” he muttered to himself, as he cautiously entered the building. “It’s going to be perfectly safe. This is one of the most heavily guarded institutes in the country.”
At first view, the place seemed absolutely normal, with nothing too out of the ordinary. Then he spotted them- the extreme security systems. Cameras were scattered all about the white, concrete walls, with little blinking red lights on them, indicating that they were, indeed, filming everyone’s movements. The front doors had electrical fences wired to them, with little panels where those meant to leave could enter the code to get out.
Jack could feel himself growing more and more uneasy. The cop, who seemed indifferent to the high-maintenance security, then led him to the building’s main lobby. The lobby, which resembled a hotel’s, had a few old tables and a couple of obviously hand-me-down chairs lying about it. The cop gave Jack a barely noticeable smile, as he whispered, “Good luck. Call me if you need me.”
And with that, Jack was left alone in the asylum. He didn’t want to be alone. In fact, the anxiety of the loneliness was almost driving him insane. “Funny,” he murmured to himself, uneasily. “Much more of this and I’ll actually belong here.” He gripped the sides of his makeshift chair tightly, almost clawing away at the already worn-down plastic coating.
The psychoanalyst soon found himself fully regretting ever coming to the damned place. What was he to do here, anyway? Maybe he had to look for a doctor or a nurse, or even another psychoanalyst. However, from what Jack knew, the building’s lobby was entirely empty.
Jack sighed with despair and slumped down in his seat. He glanced over at the clock hanging on the wall. It was almost midnight. He let out an inaudible and disgusted growl. He had always hated midnight trips, and to be in such a God-awful building at this hour was almost unbearable. As he yawned, he noticed a tiny wad of paper lying on the table. Upon closer inspection, he realized it was a letter. It was taped shut and had his name on it, written in a scarlet colored ink. A lump formed in his throat, and he swallowed hard, as he reached for the letter.
His stomach felt as though an atom bomb of butterflies had exploded in it, as he lightly traced the envelope’s seal. Trembling, he felt his fingers nervously grasp the loose end of the tape, in a poor attempt to open it. He tore into the package only to reveal a small recording device. He examined it quizzically, and then tapped the little green ‘play’ button. A scratchy voice, belonging to a woman, let out a shriek. Jack jumped backwards, launching the recording device halfway across the room.
Realizing the scream had come from the device, he collected himself enough to wander over to it. However, something stopped him before he was able to grab it.
“Time is over, lock the place.” Recited the woman on the recording. She then let out another bloodcurdling scream. Jack didn’t jump this time, most likely because he didn’t understand anything that was going on. Maybe it meant that the patients had to return to their rooms? But if that was the case, why would it have been in an envelope? More so, why would it be in an envelope addressed to him? A terrible buzzing soon filled the room, as all doors closed and the lights flickered off. The last thing Jack was able to see was the clock, both hands shakily clicking to the twelve: midnight.
All lights were off, and Jack couldn’t see a thing. His body chilled, and he felt himself start to hyperventilate. His mind replayed all of the night’s events, but he could only be sure of three things: It was midnight, there was an envelope with his name on it in his hand, and that he had to do something about the disturbing recording that he had so carelessly thrown across the room. Desperate to remove himself from the situation, Jack lied on the floor, covering his eyes and ears with his hands. He didn’t want to take part in anything else this madhouse had to offer.
With only his lab coat and blue jeans on, he was freezing. Why the building had grown so cold in only minutes, he couldn’t quite understand. Had it been a store or a mall, it’d make sense to turn off the heating at night. But there were patients here, weren’t there? People still inhabited the facility, right? The sudden thought caught him off guard. He was right: There were other people. Insane people.
In an attempt to calm himself, he began to hum happy children’s songs. His humming soon turned into uncontrollably shaky singing. “The i-itzy, b-bitzy spider climbed u-up the w-w-water spout…” He choked out.
“Down came the rain and washed the spider out!” sang out another, unfamiliar voice. Jack froze. Was someone there with him? And why had they continued his song so happily? Did they not realize what was going on?
“Why did you stop singing?” called out the voice, almost tauntingly. It seemed to belong to a young man. Jack kept silent, closing his eyes tightly, hoping it was just a weird dream. Deep in his heart, though, he knew it wasn’t.
“Keep singing, my dear.” Cried another voice, this one seemingly belonging to an elderly woman. Soon, more patients began to call out. Some of their voices sounded mournful, others angry, but they all contained one unimaginably haunting factor: a trembling, teasing laugh. Jack tried to scream out, but no noise came out. It was as if his vocal chords had given into the fear and were not permitting themselves to work.
“Calm down, Jack,” he cooed to himself. “They’re all inside of their rooms. They can’t touch you. They can’t see you. They can’t hurt you.” He curled into a feeble ball and rocked himself back and forth, until he fell asleep.
Jack’s eyes fluttered open. It was no longer dark. The lobby was blanketed in sunlight- so much, that Jack could hardly believe it was the same place that he had been in the night before. Jack let out a sigh of relief, and looked over at the clock. It was 9:00 a.m., the room was lit and beautiful, but there was still something odd about the room- it was just as empty as it had been before.
That’s when he noticed that the envelope wasn’t in his hand anymore. He had made sure that it was still with him when he had fallen asleep that night, so where had it gone? He searched the ground, only to find stray dust bunnies and thick layers of dirt. It wasn’t on the table either. As he continued to hunt for the letter, Jack grew more and more aggravated. Why couldn’t he remember what had happened last night? He knew there had been some interaction with the patients, but he couldn’t remember how or why. He also couldn’t remember why the envelope was so important or what it contained, he simply knew that it must be recovered.
After minutes of futile searching, he blurted out, “Where the fuck is my envelope?” After racking his brain for some answers, he began to yell out more unanswered questions. “Why was my name on the damned thing? What happened to it? Who took it from me?”
Jack felt a cold sweat trickle down his face, and a sudden, overwhelming sensation of being watched flooded over him. Someone was there with him. Someone must’ve gotten out of their room.
Jack’s first reaction was to run far away from the confounded place. He leapt up and scurried towards the door, only to find that the main doors were locked. He could even hear the sickening buzz of the electrical fence.
“Dammit!” he screeched, throwing his fists into the wall. He was so anxious to leave, that it had brought on a panic attack. His breaths quickened and his vision blurred to the point where someone could’ve been standing alongside him, and he wouldn’t of been able to see them.
Jack raced down the only open corridor he could see, crashing into walls after every jagged turn he took. Jack hadn’t considered much before running off; he just knew that he had to escape. Soon, he came to a long stretch of locked rooms, each with a metal door and slit, no wider than a couple of inches. This must’ve been where the patients lived. Despite the thick doors, he could still hear the patient’s God-awful moaning, calling out for help and freedom. At first, their cries were clear and synchronized, but soon grew disorganized, as if they were speaking in tongues.
Jack knew he should just turn around and leave, that conversing with the mad wasn’t going to resolve anything, but his curiosity got the better of him. He kneeled down to the slit in the door, and peeked in. What he saw made him want to vomit. An old man sat in a circle of blood, naked and scarred. He had carved the number 666 into his arms, over his chest, and all along his legs. He was toothless, except for a rusty silver crown, covering one of his front teeth. He had no tongue; instead, there was a stitched-up stump, wriggling around in his diseased mouth. It looked as though he was always making faces, because his face seemed to be frozen in an almost maniacal smile.
Repulsed, Jack closed his eyes and backed up, trying hopelessly to keep down the vomit that was slithering up the back of his throat. Slowly, he made his way down the hallway, and once more, he stopped and peered into a room.
This sight was even more grotesque. A young girl, no older than ten, was huddled in a corner. Her unwashed, brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, the tips blackened after being seemingly singed. Her white dress was stained scarlet on the shoulder, and the color had trickled down, creating vein-like patterns across the sleeves. Her eyes were demonically black, completely void of any pigmentation. They settled in on Jack, and she began to tearlessly sob. She was clutching a headless doll, the kind young girl’s always have. This doll, however, had eyes just as black as hers.
“Why don’t you think I’m beautiful?” she whispered, her voice cracking, and shrill. Jack squeezed his eyes shut, and shook his head. “Why don’t you want to look at my beautiful, beautiful face?” As he opened an eye, he noticed that she was creeping closer. One of her feet dragged behind her, unable to move. Her mouth was blood red, with a strange, black liquid oozing out of a sore on it. Jack grimaced, and ran away, as her fingertips reached through the slot in the door.
“Come back!” she called, but Jack continued to run. “I just want your eyes!” she shrieked. Jack vomited once more at the thought of her vile fingers tearing into his eye sockets, clawing away at his cornea and pupil. “I’ll be beautiful once I have them!” she screamed, her voice deepening, as though something was slowly coming over her- something demonic.
Jack couldn’t bare to see another tortured soul, and yet, he still looked into another room. This time, there was an elderly woman. Perhaps the one that called to him the night before, begging for him to continue singing? Her body had twisted like a gymnasts, but her joints were all bent the wrong way, and she was scarred. It seemed, to Jack, that the older the patient, the more massacred they were. The woman looked at Jack and laughed, as a string of vomit slid from her mouth. Jack turned away in disgust. He couldn’t bare to see anyone else in this condition. He wanted to go home.
The screams of the patients grew louder. “Shut the fuck up!” he cried out, unable to listen to anymore of their damned voices. Poor Jack was so agitated, so shaken, so troubled. His hair was dirty and his clothing was torn. His eyes were bloodshot, and his body quivered. He didn’t look as handsome as he used to, not at all. He looked like one of them.
Just as Jack was deciding to give up on ever getting out of this torturous facility, a miracle appeared in the form of a cop. The cop looked at Jack, and smiled. He was so calm, for someone working in such a Hellish place.
“It’s nice to see you again, Monroe,” the cop said, chuckling quietly to himself. He noticed how awfully Jack was shivering, and offered him a jacket. Without saying a word, he took the jacket from the cop, and slid into it. It was oversized, but felt warm and clean, which comforted the distressed Jack.
“Would you like to sit down?” inquired the cop. Jack nodded slowly, and was then led to a chair. He was now in a quiet room, free from the horrors of the asylum. He finally felt as though he could relax, as though he was home again, where he belonged.
And now the scene was clear to everyone- Jack with his straight jacket on, sitting in a wheelchair, the cop wheeling him down the long corridor. Soon, the two of them arrived at a room marked with the number 108. The number seemed to comfort Jack, and he willingly crawled into the room. As the cop prepared to leave, he handed Jack a letter. Upon further inspection, Jack recognized that it was the same letter he had found the night before. He tore into it, to find the recording device neatly placed back in the letter.
He clicked the ‘play’ button, just as he had the other day. Instead of feeling nervous and antsy, however, he felt warm and at home.
“Goodbye, Jack,” murmured the recording, in the screaming woman’s voice. Jack was now inside his room, sitting happily, with the recording still on, next to him. After a long, drawn-out silence, the recording whispered, “Welcome back, Monroe. We’ve missed you.”